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 @Nagaland.faithweb.com - Profile on Nagaland

  • Nagaland, down the ages :

  • Little is known about the early history of what is now Nagaland, including the origin of several large sandstone pillars at Dimapur. British rule was established over the area by the 1890s, and headhunting, then a traditional practice, gradually ceased with the coming of the British Government and the American Baptist Missionaries during the nineteenth century. The Naga territory remained split between Assam and the North East Frontier Agency after Indian independence in 1947, despite a vocal movement advocating the political union of all the Naga tribes; one faction called for secession from India. In 1957, following violent incidents, the Indian government established a single Naga administrative unit under Indian rule. The Naga people responded by refusing to pay their taxes and by conducting a campaign of sabotage. In 1960 the Indian government agreed to make Nagaland a self-governing state within India; the state was officially inaugurated in 1963. Naga separatists, however, continued to show violent opposition; they have been demanding autonomy and creation of a single administrative unit comprising all the Naga inhabited areas spanning across some of the north eastern states. Naga rebels and the Indian government have agreed on a ceasefire and peace talks are going on.

  • Physiography

  • Nagaland, state in extreme northeastern India, bordered on the west and north by Assam state, on the east by Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), on the north by Arunachal Pradesh state, and on the south by Manipur state. Nagaland is one of India's smallest states, with a total area of 16,579 sq km (6400 sq mi). The Naga Hills run through this small state, which has Saramati as its highest peak at a height of 12,600 ft. The main rivers that flow through Nagaland are Dhansiri , Doyang , Dikhu , Milak , Zungki and Tizu. The terrain is mountainous, thickly wooded, and cut by deep river valleys. There is a wide variety of plant and animal life. Nagaland has a monsoon climate with generally high humidity; rainfall averages between 2000 mm to 2500 mm a year.

  • People

  • The Naga's belong to the mongoloid stock, a race whose presence was first noted ten centuries before Christ, at the time of the compilation of the Vedas. The Nagas form more than 20 tribes, as well as numerous subtribes, each having a specific geographic distribution. Though sharing many cultural traits, these tribes have maintained a high degree of isolation and lack cohesion as a single people. The Konyaks are the largest tribe, followed by the Angamis, Aos and Semas. Other tribes include the Lothas, Sangtams, Phoms, Changs, Khiamniungams , Yimchungru , Zeliangs, Chakhesangs and Rengmas.The principal languages are Angami, Ao, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sangtam, and Sema. Most probably the Nagas migrated towards the present home from different directions across the mountains possibly following the overland route or trek extensively used by the Chinese traders. The ethnic characteristics of Nagas are simple, cheerful, honest, courteous and hospitable people. They are strong, sturdy and brave people. They are also industrious and hard working.

  • Culture & Religion

  • The traditional Naga religion is animistic, though conceptions of a supreme creator and an afterlife exist. Nature is seen to be alive with invisible forces, minor deities, and spirits with which priests and medicine men mediate. In the 19th century, with the advent of British rule, Christianity was introduced, and Baptist missionaries became especially active in the region. As a result, the population now is predominantly Christian.

    The structure of the Naga society is basically rural in character. The Nagas build their villages on the top of the different hills, running down from high ranges overlooking the valleys and hills. Nagaland is a land of festivals with pageantry, music and feasts. Nagas are very fond of dance and songs even though the styles vary from one tribe to another. The central feature of traditional Naga life is by giving of what has come to be known as Feasts of Merit, in which the splendour of colour and extravagance of Naga life is amply reflected. The Nagas had lived in a world of their own, separated from the rest of the world for many generations. Like any other tribal communities, they held a world-view that is entirely different from what the Western world knew. The village is controlled by the village chief. They have a council where each clan sends a representative. The system of administration varies from village to village and is generally democratic in style.



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